Pope Says Now Is Time for United Testimony

Week of Prayer Concludes at Pauline Basilica

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

ROME, JAN. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is appealing to all Christians to give a common witness starting immediately, even though full unity has not yet been achieved.

The Pope made this exhortation today during his homily at vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. Today’s feast of the Conversion of St. Paul brings an end to the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The Holy Father appealed to each Christian confession to «make its contribution to take the steps that lead to full communion.»

Though acknowledging questions that «separate us from one another — and that we hope can be overcome through prayer and dialogue,» the Pontiff affirmed that there is the «central content of Christ’s message that we can all proclaim together.»
This message is «the fatherhood of God, the victory of Christ over sin and death with his cross and resurrection, and confidence in the Spirit’s transforming action,» he stated.


Benedict XVI reflected that while Christians are «on the way to full communion,» they already share the call to «give a common witness in face of the ever more complex challenges of our time.»

On that list, the Pope said, are challenges such as «secularization and indifference, relativism and hedonism, the difficult ethical topics in regard to the beginning and end of life, the limits of science and of technology, and dialogue with other religious traditions.»
Moreover, he proposed, there are new fields «in which from now on we must give a common witness.»

Among them, the Pope highlighted «the safeguarding of creation, promotion of the common good and of peace, the defense of the centrality of the human person, the commitment to overcome the miseries of our time, such as hunger, indigence, illiteracy, and the unequal distribution of goods.»

Benedict XVI called to mind this year’s 100th anniversary of a preliminary ecumenical gathering held in Scotland.

He reflected on the «fundamental intuition» of that 1910 gathering: that Christians cannot proclaim the Gospel credibly if they are divided.
The conference was «a determinant event for the birth of the modern ecumenical movement,» the Pope said.
It is precisely «the desire to proclaim Christ to others and to take his message of reconciliation to the world that makes one feel the contradiction of the division of Christians,» he added. «How, in fact, will unbelievers be able to accept the proclamation of the Gospel if Christians, despite all of them referring to the same Christ, are in disagreement among themselves?
«A century since the Edinburgh event, the intuition of those courageous precursors is still very present.»

New and intense

The Bishop of Rome affirmed that in this world «marked by religious indifference, and even by a growing aversion to the Christian faith,» there is a need for «a new, intense activity of evangelization,» not only for those who have never heard the Gospel, but «also among those in which Christianity was disseminated and is part of their history.»
Recalling the recently ended Year of St. Paul, the Holy Father stressed that common witness of the faith, «then as today, is born from the encounter with the Risen One, is nourished from a constant relationship with him, is animated by profound love for him.»
«The force that promotes unity and the mission,» the Pontiff concluded, «arises from the fecund and thrilling encounter with the Risen One, as happened to St. Paul on the road to Damascus.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation